The National Cancer Institute has announced the a new study that will involve 35,000 current or former smokers at 20 centers around the United States. The study is intended to uncover whether two different screening tests are effective in uncovering lung cancer before symptoms start.
Smoking drastically increases a person's risk of lung cancer and there are currently 90 million current and former smokers in the United States. Unlike other cancers that have had a reduced number of deaths in recent years, the death toll from lung cancer has remained unchanged. Nearly 120,000 people die each year from lung cancer. This is more than breast, prostate, colon and pancreas cancer combined. Researchers hope this study will prove effective in saving more lives.
Study participants will be randomly assigned to have either a chest X-ray or a spiral CT test done once a year for three years. Participants will continue to have their health monitored until the year 2008. Earlier research has shown spiral CT can detect tumors less than 1 centimeter in size, and X-rays can detect them at 1 to 2 centimeters in size. The idea is that the smaller the tumor is when detected, the more likely the chance of survival -- at least this is what researchers hope to find with the study.
In order to participate in the study, individuals must meet the following criteria:
>Be a current or former smoker age 55 to 74
>Have never had lung cancer and have not had any cancer within the last five years
>Must not be currently enrolled in any other cancer screening or prevention trial
>Have not had a CT scan of the chest or lungs within the past 19 months.